Alternative splicing in plants: directing traffic at the crossroads of adaptation and environmental stress
In recent years, high-throughput sequencing-based analysis of plant transcriptomes has suggested that up to ∼60% of plant gene loci encode alternatively spliced mature transcripts. These studies have also revealed that alternative splicing in plants can be regulated by cell type, developmental stage, the environment, and the circadian clock. Alternative splicing is coupled to RNA surveillance and processing mechanisms, including nonsense mediated decay. Recently, non-protein-coding transcripts have also been shown to undergo alternative splicing. These discoveries collectively describe a robust system of post-transcriptional regulatory feedback loops which influence RNA abundance. In this review, we summarize recent studies describing the specific roles alternative splicing and RNA surveillance play in plant adaptation to environmental stresses and the regulation of the circadian clock.
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